Published: 12:49, 01 May 2019
| Updated: 19:37, 01 May 2019
An Uber driver has accused councillors of “scaremongering” after they agreed to commission an independent legal report which could eventually see the company banned from operating in the Towns.
The proposal, put forward by Cllr Dan McDonald (Lab), won cross-party support last Thursday (April 25) amid concerns the online transport firm has led to unfair competition and compromised passenger safety.
But one Uber driver, who wishes to remain anonymous due to fears his vehicle will be vandalised, said checks are in place despite suggestions to the contrary during the “very grim and disheartening” debate.
KMTV spoke to local taxi drivers before the decision was made
He said: “Some of the comments made bordered on scaremongering people into not using Uber.
“It took me nearly 12 months to get my licence going through the processes you have to do. We all have a full DBS check, the cars have to be no less than six years old and are subject to six-monthly checks done by Transport for London (TfL).
“As far as I can see, it’s fair competition. Rather like supermarkets, people can choose where they want to shop – you should be able to choose how to get from a-to-b.”
He went on to say Uber conducts a “knowledge test of sorts” which quizzes prospective drivers on the best routes to take, and questioned other “disrespectful” comments made by councillors.
The company currently works in the area under a ‘Greater London’ licence issued by Transport for London, and Medway Councilis now set to spend up to £10,000 to assess whether this is lawful.
A large number of taxi drivers attended the meeting to voice their support for a legal review, but they have now been accused of making offensive gestures when spotting Uber vehicles picking up or dropping off passengers.
The anonymous driver added: “I’ve been subject to abuse and intimidation tactics from local taxi drivers on the road because my vehicle is marked as an Uber.
“I haven’t been physically attacked yet, but when I’m passing other drivers they are definitely mouthing and gesticulating at me which I think is very unfair.”
More by this authorDean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter